Best Ice Creams For Diabetics

Craving ice cream but don’t want to mess up your blood sugar or weight?

Here are tips from the doctors and dietitians at the Pritikin Longevity Center in Miami for better and best ice creams for diabetics. For nearly 40 years, Pritikin has been helping people with diabetes launch healthier habits, shed weight, and lower glucose levels. Many people return home medication-free or with their dosages greatly reduced. That’s how powerful the right food and fitness plan can be.

If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy ice cream. You just need to choose the best ice creams for diabetics.

If you have diabetes, you can still enjoy ice cream. You just need to choose the best ice creams for diabetics.

Best Ice Creams For Diabetics:
5 Questions To Ask Yourself

To help you both lower your blood sugar (glucose) and shed excess weight (which is often vital for diabetes control), the faculty at the Pritikin health resort suggest that you ask yourself the following 5 questions:

1

How much am I scooping out?

Turn around any container of ice cream and you’ll likely see on the Nutrition Facts label that the serving size is a half cup. A level half cup. That’s the same size as those little single-serving containers of Jello pudding or Activia yogurt. Yep, four or five bites and it’s all over.

So unless you’re being really careful (or using teeny-tiny bowls), you’re probably scooping out at least a cup, which means twice the calories, twice the artery clogging saturated fat, and twice the sugar that’s listed on the label.

2

Am I keeping a lid on sugar?

It’s difficult to know exactly how much added sugar a serving of ice cream contains because the number you see for grams of sugar on the Nutrition Facts label includes added sugars as well as the naturally-occurring (and Pritikin-friendly) sugars from the milk and fruit ingredients.

100 calories

Suffice it to say that if you’re sticking with fat-free ice creams and frozen yogurts that have 100 calories or fewer per serving, you’re probably not getting more than 3 teaspoons of added sugar, point out the Pritikin dietitians in their nutrition workshops at the health resort.

These ice creams are best for diabetics because they avoid both added fat and sugar.

But keep in mind that 3 teaspoons of added, refined sugar is still a lot, particularly if you’re concerned about your blood glucose and triglyceride levels, not to mention your waistline.

The doctors and dietitians at Pritikin are far from alone in their concerns about added sugars. The American Heart Association now recommends no more than 6 teaspoons of added sugar (for women) or 9 teaspoons (for men) for the entire day.

The problem is, it’s really tough, if not impossible, to find ice creams that are both fat-free and sugar-free. And with sugar-free ice creams, you’re often getting a fair amount of fat, especially heart-damaging saturated fat. So the better choice, usually, is fat-free ice creams and frozen yogurts that keep calorie count (and therefore added sugars) relatively low.

3

Do I have time for a little walk after dessert?

Every evening after dinner and dessert, guests at Pritikin who have diabetes go out for a 20-minute leisurely walk on Pritikin’s 650 acres of lush tropical gardens and golf courses.

“We find that these after-dinner walks do a great job of helping keep blood sugar levels low the following morning,” notes Pritikin’s Director of Exercise Scott Danberg. “Our guests are amazed at the difference in their morning blood values when they’ve gone out for a walk the night before versus when they haven’t.

“And the really good news is that it doesn’t have to be a full-blown, high-intensity workout, like the type of workouts we have in our fitness program during the day. Just a nice, moderately-paced walk after dinner, and for just a few minutes, can have wonderful results for your blood sugar levels the following morning.”

4

What am I really hungry for?

Always ask yourself: “Am I hungry for dessert? Or am I simply hungry for some kind of reward at day’s end?”

Seek out zero-calorie joys like a stroll at sunset, a really good movie, a massage, an evening swim, a game of golf at twilight, or time with a great friend, recommends psychologist Dr. Coral Arvon in behavior change counseling at Pritikin.

5

What’s most important to me?

Always ask yourself, too: “What’s most important to me and my life? Is it a few minutes of a food indulgence? Or years and years of healthy, vital living? Having the energy and good health to be able to do all the things I want to do?”

As our guests at Pritikin often say: Nothing tastes as good as being healthy feels. Ice cream – or any food treat, for that matter – pales by comparison to the results they’re seeing and feeling at Pritikin.

Results

They are scientifically documented results. In studies published in peer-reviewed journals over the past several decades by scientists at UCLA and other leading universities, the Pritikin Program of diet and exercise has been found to be profoundly beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes and pre-diabetes. Here are research highlights:

One study1 found that among 243 people in the early stages of diabetes (not yet on medications), their fasting glucose fell on average from 160 to 124 within three weeks of coming to Pritikin. Research has also found that the Pritikin Program reduced fasting insulin by 25 to 40%2.

Top Food Tips

Our doctors and dietitians teach these Food Tips For People with Diabetes

Diabetes Retreat

Take action during this special program. Diabetes Retreats at Pritikin

An analysis of 864 type 2 diabetics documented that fasting glucose fell on average 19% within three weeks of beginning the Pritikin Program. Of those on oral drugs, the majority left the Pritikin Center free of these drugs or with their dosages significantly reduced.3

Better and Best Ice Creams For Diabetics

Still craving a little ice cream every now and then? Okay! Here are tips for better and best ice creams for diabetics.

Better Ice Creams For Diabetics

Below are better choices in markets today in terms of calorie, saturated fat, and sugar content. We call them “better choices” – not “best” choices – because if you’re trying to lose weight and lower blood sugar, “you’ve really got to stick to the half-cup serving size,” points out Kimberly Gomer, MS, RD, Director of Nutrition at Pritikin. “The other problem is that the pint or half-gallon container is sitting in the freezer, calling out to you to scoop out more.”

“Know yourself,” advises Kimberly. “If you can stop at a half-cup, the following choices are probably fine. But if you can’t, these store-bought products can stop weight loss and blood sugar control in their tracks, and may even promote weight gain and diabetes.”

Breyer’s® Deliciously Rich & Creamy, Fat Free

Breyer's Fat-Free Ice Cream is Good for Weight Loss
Flavors:
  • Creamy Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Strawberry
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 90
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 2 teaspoons

Dreyer’s® Slow Churned Yogurt Blends, Vanilla, Fat-Free

Slow Churned is one of the best ice creams for weight loss.
Flavors:
  • Vanilla
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 90
Saturated Fat: 0 grams
Added Sugars: 2.5 teaspoons

Lifeway® Frozen Kefir

Lifeway Frozen Kefir is an excellent ice cream for weight loss.
Flavors:
  • Tart and Tangy Original
  • Tart and Tangy Mango
  • Tart and Tangy Pomegranate
  • Tart and Tangy Strawberry
  • Tart and Tangy Chocolate
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 90
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 2.5 teaspoons

Stonyfield® Organic Nonfat Frozen Yogurt

Stonyfield Ice Cream is a good brand for weight loss.
Flavors:
  • Gotta Have Vanilla
  • Gotta Have Java
  • After Dark Chocolate
Nutrition Information (per half-cup serving):

Calories: 100
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 3 teaspoons

Best Ice Creams For Diabetics

Best choices for weight loss, diabetes control, and good health are all-fruit frozen desserts that you can whip up with high-speed blenders like Vitamix, Blendtec, or Yonanas.

Another best choice are all-fruit, no-sugar-added popsicles like:

Dreyer’s® or Edy’s® Outshine No-Sugar-Added Fruit Bars

Fruit Bars are Best for Weight Loss
Flavors:
  • Black Cherry
  • Strawberry-Kiwi
  • Mixed Berry
  • Strawberry
  • Tangerine
  • Raspberry
Nutrition Information (per popsicle):

Calories: 25 to 30
Saturated Fat: 0g
Added Sugars: 0g

More Best Choices

Among best ice creams for diabetics are three recipes for icy cold delights that our award-winning chefs teach in cooking classes at the Pritikin Longevity Center. Each is full of fantastic flavor and nutrition, and they’re surprisingly easy to make.

Banana Ricotta Ice Cream

Bananas, ricotta, orange zest, nutmeg, vanilla… Yum! Get the recipe »

Very, Very Berry Ice Cream

A blissful blast of icy, fruity creaminess. Get the recipe »

Banana Blueberry Ripple Ice Cream

Just 3 ingredients, but loads of cold, refreshing fun. Get the recipe »

Here’s another best choice that delivers cold, creamy crunch. And it’s super simple:

Shaved Ice, Yogurt, and Fresh Berries

Spoon out about ¾ cup of nonfat, plain Greek yogurt into a dessert bowl. Swirl in a packet of Splenda and a handful of fresh berries. To make shaved ice, drop 6 or 7 ice cubes into a food processor and pulse until ice is flaky but not slushy (about 45 seconds). Fold shaved ice into yogurt and berries. Refreshing and so fast and easy!

Diabetic Food & Exercise Myths

If you have diabetes, you may think you have to eat a bland, boring diet. Not so! Learn how simple and doable improving your blood sugar can be. Watch the Food, Fitness, and Diabetes Video

Sources

1 Diabetes Care, 1994; 17: 1469.
2 American Journal of Physiology – Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2012; 303: E542.
3 Journal of Applied Physiology, 2005; 98: 3.

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